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Someplace Like AmericaTales from the New Great Depression$
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Dale Maharidge

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520262478

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520262478.001.0001

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(p.216) Coda
Someplace Like America

Dale Maharidge

University of California Press

Sacramento may be the capital of California, but the city has a long history of a hardscrabble underbelly. Among the attractions are the waterways that run through the city—the clear American and the muddy Sacramento rivers join near downtown. The draw is not the presence of water in rare quantity for parched California, but the riverbanks thick with vegetation that conceals the camps of the homeless “river people.” Michael S. Williamson and Dale Maharidge spent a lot of time in these camps back in the 1980s and fittingly end their journey in the place where it began—Sacramento and the surrounding Central Valley. The camps Michael and Dale found in the early 1980s weren't as elaborate as those photographed by Dorothea Lange. One camp later grew in size, a village of shanties belonging to Montana Blackie and his hobo buddies. The cops kept the river people cowering in the shadows through the 1980s. Dale wrote stories about most of those sweeps, for the newspaper and in a book about Blackie, The Last Great American Hobo. Then he left town.

Keywords:   Michael S. Williamson, Dale Maharidge, camps, Sacramento, Central Valley, Dorothea Lange, Montana Blackie, hobo, California

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